I was in my first year of college when I waltzed into Grandma Nita’s home – excited at my newfound freedom and making my presence known in her immaculate home. I was young, naive, drunk on freedom and a little self-centered. I didn’t take the opportunity then to embrace the lessons I could learn or to forge a stronger relationship with my great aunt – or Grandma Nita, as I grew up calling her.
Fortunately, maturity & growth gave me the chance to make up for the time that I wasted. I didn’t see her every day like my first year at Sacramento State. The moments we did get in the passing years are now little nuggets of treasure for me to remember her by. For that, I am eternally grateful.
I sat at the chapel the last couple of days, thinking not of her last days, but the days when she would talk to me in her kind voice. I thought of the way her hugs were always tight and her eyes were always full of joy when she hugged a family member. I remember a woman who recognized and embraced the gifts & blessings in her life – from the sun warming her while fishing or the feel of holding another great grand child.
As I watched the slideshow of her life on the video screen, the clips of her skydiving from just 2 years ago – TWO years ago – flashed onto the monitor. She was 80 years old. I smiled. I smiled with amazement, joy and love at this wonderful, beautiful woman. She lived her life the same way she did gliding through the sky – blowing kisses, displaying a grace well beyond a lifetime of years and smiling at the breath and energy of life.
She had more grace and beauty in her little finger than I have in my entire being. I’m so thankful to have such wonderful memories of her. I’m blessed to have been touched by her goodness and to have my heart filled with such love for her and by her. Thank you so much for your goodness and being a role model and a hero.
Rest in Paradise Grandma Nita. The last time I saw Grandpa Rey, I danced with him at Auntie Grace’s wedding. I have no doubts you both are lighting up the dance floor up in the stars. I smile knowing you’re in his arms again.
I’m so glad I got the opportunity to take these portraits a couple years ago. I’m so incredibly blessed to be a part of an extraordinary line of women and to have captured her incredible beauty.
I didn’t get the chance to be in this picture because I was taking the shot. If I had, there would have been 4 generations of strong, beautiful women in this photo. I’m so, so glad Malia had the opportunity to feel the warmth of your hugs and your butterfly kisses.
With all my love,
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